marketing direct or at sentinel publishing. >> up next from the harlem book fair, a panel that 2012 presidential election. this is about 90 minutes. [applause] >> i am so -- i am so proud to today. my name is peniel joseph,ry professor of history at tufts university and directort for ths race and democracy there. welcome to decision on tran "decison 2012: race, democracy, and new jim crow" would've adiee standing room only audience at the harlem book fair.e new york as a native new yorker and proud to be here with this panel of luminaries. i am going to do a brief introduction introduction and i am going to set the stage for what is going to follow.
we've got sonia sanchez. [applause] professor b8 is a national and international treasurer. she's a human rights activist, poet, civil rights activist, feminist, humanist, mother, teacher, daughter, and really one of the heroic figures of the post civil-rights and civil rights of black power era. her latest book is morning haiku and she has edited 44 african-american writers on the election of barack obama, 44th president of the united states. [applause] next we have professor cornell west. [applause]
with cornell as we all know is another national and international icon and in national treasure in his own right. he is a professor of civil rights activists philosopher, human rights activist who and really one of the boldest public intellectuals that we have in the united states today. he speaks truth to power even when when he speaks is unpopular he has the structure to be critical and against the grain even when it's hurt him and is standing in the black community. so cornell's latest book is the rich and the rest of us and we are proud and happy to have him here today. [applause]
next we have fred harris, who is professor of political science at columbia university where he directs the institute for research and african-american studies. [applause] professor harris's latest book is the price of the ticket, barack obama and the rise and decline of black politics and professor harris is one of the leading scholars of african-american politics in the united states today. [applause] last but not least, we have khalil gibran muhammad. [applause] who is the director of the schomburg center for research and black history and culture. and he is also the author of a brilliant but a condemnation of blackness, race, crime and the making of modern urban america
that places the issue of race and crime and a black criminality and mass incarceration in the proper historical context in the united states today. [applause] >> before i sit down i would like to talk about what we will be talking about this afternoon. decision 2012 race and democracy. i speak about race and democracy in my work often and sometimes people tell me how can you talk about race and democracy in the black radicalism? isn't that a contradiction? malcolm x famously called american democracy nothing more than american hypocrisy. martin luther king jr. spoke truth to power to the day he died between 1965 to 1968 like his biographer said he literally becomes a pillar of fire talking
against the vietnam war talking about political and economic inequality and talking about the triple threats of militarism, materialism and racism on the body politics. 44 years after martin luther king jr.'s death, those threats remain. we think that the new jim-crow on one level we think about michele alexander's best-selling book about mass incarceration and the african-american community. what i want to do today is extend that metaphor beyond just incarceration. we are going to dhaka but incarceration today but i want to expend that to public schools, to racial, political and economic inequality to the death of trayvon martin sheeran harlem to the issues of police brutality to our foreign policy and the drone that checks against innocent globalist.
i want to extend the metaphor of the new jim crow to the new tax on the voting rights for african-americans and minorities in places like florida and all over the united states. i want to extend that metaphor of the new jim crow to the political and public policy assault on poor black women that continues to this day. i want to extend that metaphor to the hip-hop generation and generations of young black men and women who we are writing off today as we speak as a nation because we do not care whether they can read, write, have food, suffering from malnutrition, whether they can be productive citizens in the 21st century so i want to have a conversation that connects the metaphor of the new jim-crow to the decision that we face in 2012, and the reelection of barack obama or the election of mitt romney.
what does that mean that we have from the civil rights to the barack obama era that african-american poverty has actually increased. what does it mean that the african-american incarceration since 1954 have exploded. what does it mean that the material circumstances for millions of black people are worse now than they were during the 1954 brown decision during the age of jim crow? the first person i would want to ask is brother cornell west because you've been very vocal in your criticism of the president of the united states even to the point where some people have accused you of being a traitor and some people have said cornell brother west why are you speaking out of turn? the right wing attacking this man and remember the right wing is attacking president obama. they're saying that he party is attacking this man, the movement
is attacking this man. i want to throw out a question to you that isn't about attacking president obama but placing his idea of the decision 2012 and reset democracy in its proper historical context what is the reelection of barack obama for issues of racial, political, economic inequality, issues of mass incarceration? issues of domestic racism, issues of police brutality, trayvon martin and also the international context. what does it mean? and if it doesn't mean a release of some of these ills we are suffering from, where can we go to get relief? >> you put a lot on the table. [laughter] i want to thank dr. joseph for his leadership and i want to acknowledge my dear brother max
robinson for 14 years not bringing us together and of course the leader of this institution professor herricks and the iconic sonya sanchez. let us never forget sylvia's restaurant i was at the tribute for curtis mayfield last night. 70 years he would be. [applause] born june 3rd, 1942 died december 26 and at the tribute, you could feel the love, the courage, the willingness to sacrifice the music of the genius that dropped out of high school but let the world know that he came from a great people and tradition that said he was bowing to respect the people and of to tell the truth planning
and that turning on the black keys on the piano. that is the tradition that i come from. that's the tradition i come from. so any time people say you're trashing the president with an trash in any system that treats human beings of humanity is not a firm bid if you are the head of that system the fundamental question is will you side with everyday people or side with the oligarchs on the top? i don't care what color they are. that is a moral question. that is a spiritual question and on a christian, too so why don't worry about folks saying things about me. i have another criteria by judge myself by. but when we look at the reelection, i say that the system itself is so decrepit that this point that the oligarchs have dominated and there's a culture of deformity that all about money and the
obsession of the even commandment that all shall not get caught. scandal after scandal we are seeing the recession of the culture and it doesn't begin in the hood, it begins on wall street. [applause] it begins in the corporate elite of the 1% that 135% of the wealth and get the top 83% of the income in the last year and a half and the rest of us wrestling with so the choice for me is on the one hand mitt romney would be a catastrophe, a capital c, catastrophe, reinforcing the oligarchy and the conformity and reinforcing the mendacity. but then i look at barack obama and wrestled with a brother, 65 events i did for the brother. what we see the last three years
suffering lady, poverty increasing, more decrepit school system, the privatizing of it. so i.c.e. mitt romney catastrophe the capitol see. obama so far for poor people, disaster. look at the present industrial complex, look at our poor children, look at working people. is disaster better than catastrophe? help yes. [laughter] because catastrophe means explicit crypto fascist possibilities. for barack obama neola will part of the system that is in the process of collapsing slowly so he might constitute a break but then my look at the foreign policy and the national defence act and the tannin folks without trial and the u.s. citizens when
i look he looks at every tuesday and he decides to to kill that sounds like disaster to me to. we are between the rock and a hard place. >> third-party possible that these. most importantly voting isn't the sole form of being active. we need organizing, mobilizing, and we would love to have a social movement if possible. >> that's great. i want to follow up with the political scientists about this. what are your thoughts? >> you put me between a rock and a hard place to come after cornell west. but i'm going to try. the good doctor is absolutely right. african-americans are between a rock and a hard place.
but the president, i've been critical of the president. i had rocks thrown at me recently that the president house for instance we should give him credit with a health care reform bill. i think that's very important. a fifth of african-americans are uninsured. but i also think cornell was going on that part of this is our fault, too because we haven't held the president's seat to the fire. there's been other constituents. we are a constituency in the democratic party so the question for me is not with a black president is doing for black folks. the question ought to be what is this democratic president doing for the most loyal constituency of the democratic party. there is no other constituency in the country that gives 95% of its vote to one party so there been other constituencies in
difficult positions of the gay and lesbian movement which is i would applaud it. it's great that they've gotten their issues on the table, and i should say that it also benefits african-americans gays and lesbians so we should acknowledge that, too. but also when it comes to issues around racial inequality, this administration i think has been missing in action and i want people to go back because i think there is some emmy show going on particularly about what happened when barack obama was down with black voters and hillary had him out and there was a march talking about social movements around the event. several weeks later at harvard university, barack obama gave one of the most progressive criminal-justice reform talks proposals i've heard from any presidential candidate. what did he promise? he promised a federal level racial profiling wall. he promised loan forgiveness to
the law students that could decide to become public defenders in order to level the playing field for people who can't afford lawyers. he said he would encourage the states to do away with the death penalty. what happens to that barack obama? part of the problem is i think as a community you talk about the right wing. we have been more protective of the president, then pressuring him into action like other constituencies. so in many ways, if there's a second term and i do hope there is a second term because it would be a disaster for the catastrophe we are going to -- this week and not going on, we can't criticize you. i'm under attack. that bill will collapse after the second inauguration. and i hope that people hopefully -- on the other hand, she may also have to confront another
republican dominated president and a very conservative senate. i have dreams about this or rather nightmares that the only thing i see that could come on the very progressive and is the second midterm when the american people get so fed up that unfortunately it's great to be only two years to turn this thing around and so, that is my best hope at the moment. [applause] but i am hearing is what fred said and cornell said in terms of the disappointment with the president is some of the black community got confused and confused barack obama with martin luther king. when we look -- and i said this before publicly. when we look at dr. king and lyndon johnson, dr. king as the civil-rights champion and the hero of his generation. when we look at barack obama, barack obama is the president of the united states. when you ask most black people
if they would get a picture of barack obama, they are looking at a civil rights activist when in fact barack obama is at martin luther king jr.. he is not frederick douglass, he is abraham lincoln, and i think that we have gotten that confused in the black community. >> i just said something i'm glad i wasn't miced. i said on a good day. you're absolutely right. i want to address this from an educational standpoint because i think that's what is often not accounted for in this back-and-forth as to whether we should support the president or we shouldn't support the president. i would like to say what would you tell a 12 year old about the significance of his first presidency in light of the world that they live?
in light of the experiences that many of those black and brown 12-year-olds have walking the streets to this city or a 12-year-old growing up in southern indiana having nothing but the generations? what would you say to them? because he does represent in the purest tradition of american exceptional was in a kind of black ratio. he didn't come from nothing. but he represents the in possible made possible. he is the leader of the free world representing western european traditions that have never happened before. a member of the minority party representing the nation's interest. so, we have heard a lot over the last few years about -- and i am going to natural lit down to the specific terms about no more excuses for young black boys and young black girls who are underachieving now that the president, barack obama and michelle obama are in the white
house, how could you not recognize how hard and how important it is to work hard to live up to those aspirations? i can see documentary after the gentry, special report after special report ask young people now that you see this first family in the white house will if you think about getting married one day? as if we are so pathological and dysfunctional that it would take the symbolism of a black family in the white house to even have the thought that one might actually decide to marry one day. [applause] as a side note marriage is a declining institution in the world. and yet we, that is, those over african-americans bear the burden of somehow representing the decline of marriage. in 1970 as many of you know, 30% was the then crisis number for the female households, children born to single women. they produced the moynihan report and it continues to shape over the next 40 years of the
policies around poverty in this country. the rate of white children born to single women at the time was about 3%. that number has grown tenfold in the past 40 years. it's now the crisis number that was the case for black folks 40 years ago. have you heard any reports about the crisis of the family into the pathology actually there is one. charles murray wrote it but there has been no continued conversation about it. so, for me, the presidency opposes the problem and the opportunity of pointing out the limits of black representation achievement that the real world doesn't turn simply on the word of a single individual, and particularly the presidency. ..
what do you say to a 12-year-old in light of the first presidency and in expectations of the second presidency in terms what they want to see in what kind of world they want to be living in. they means they have to be equipped to speak up for the rights they have, the entitle element they deserve, and a quality of life that should be govern -- guaranteed to them. [applause] >> i want you to -- [inaudible]
lots of things, oarveg. it's an honor to be here. a place i discovered jean hudson many years ago. being from new york, went for a job, in fact i got a telegram, they don't do telegrams anymore do they? it said report to work at 9:00 a.m. i answered an ad in "the new york times" that said they needed a writer for the film. by golly, i sent a copy of my writing and cv and i got a telegram said report to work on monday. i showed up not at 9:00 because i department want to do cp time. i showed up at 8:30 a.m. blue suit, heels, and hat and
gloves. and i had the telegram. when the receptionist came in. i showed her the telegram. have you ever had people look at something and look at you and look at something and look at you and at something. i walked in and sat down at quarter to nine the guy came in. a head came around and another he said and said i'm sorry the job is taken. i said how can that be? i just got here. i used my new york humor. i said i got it. i was due at nine. i'll go back outside and wait fifteen minutes and the guy said lady, it's taken. i got it. discrimination i'm going to report to the urban league and the guy slugged his shoulders. i was so mad, you new yorkers know i got on the number two train to go to the urban league office. i was mad the door closed and i ended up on the train that going
to 110 the street. i got off the 125th cross the street a quarter a away that said shop boring library. i pick up my hat and gloves and i said to the man, what is this? please. and he said, it's called if? he said go in but sign in first. and i walked in and there was mrs. hod comp behind the glass door and there was scholars long tables just books stacked high. not looking up and i knocked on the glass door and i told the story. i said what is in? she said my dear, we have books here only by black people. and i said, it must not be many in here. [laughter] she never ever let me forget that. every year i brought my students there.
she said i have a story to tell about your professor. [laughter] and she told it every time. the story they i want to tell it that we deserve the presidents we get. we deserve the comem and women we get. we deserve everybody we get. the mayor, we deserve every bloody person we get because it's up to us. it is we who must decide. [applause] you know it. you know it. and you know that you know it. if we elect somebody to do it. how could we do it? it's an empire, people. come on. it's a wild word, look it up it's an empire and nothing changes unless we the people remember. we the people, they're talking about us and we the people. we is the people. i know, i teach english. we is the people. you know and if we the people elect someone to sit back and said okay now you do.
it's impossible. it's an impossibility to do it. you know it and i know it. you see. that's what i'm saying. we got what we deserve. you know, and let me take it a step further. we didn't want any radicals. most blacks aren't that radical today. most people are not radical today. you know, people still look -- [inaudible] doing the same thing sanchez? i said what is that? i said i've been teaching for 40 years. i taught your children and grandchildren. i taught them and i taught them, what did i teach them? what does it mean to be human? what does mean to be -- [inaudible] what does it mean to be a slave that we could go in the classroom and teach your children how to be human. that's what we did. you know it and i know it. whenever but the point is simply we lean back on our eyes and
shut our eyes and pretended we don't see. we see behind our eyes. we knew he was not radical. we knew coming out of chicago what kind of politics he was coming out of. we're not crazy. we come out of new york politics. and we knew that. we knew about him and middle class people. they're not working class people. they will invite me to the white house or him to the white house. they don't want to see us. when they see us they a history that goes back to martin, malcom, it does. it really does. you see, and that's real. and but we have -- [inaudible] it is indeed what we have said what have written that produced an obama. okay. , you know. [applause] and we needed to hold him to it. we needed to him to hold him to the history and we have not done that. i was looking for -- if i can't find it now. it begins a piece they do
talking about coming out of period, right. here it is. if you want to create a new body, then you must step out of the river of your own memory and see the world as if for the first time. that's what we got to do. you can't come in with the same old memories and say by golly i'm creating something new. i say no. you have the same. you are indeed thinking the same thoughts every day when you do that. and the part of all of this is to begin think new thoughts bhap we must do without children to make them a new way of look agent worlds. in other words one of the thing i do and we don't have time for that i do with children and, i mean, children, children and college children it's the whole point. something negative comes comes in the idiot box, the television movies whatever. you have to children to recognize to say that is an
negative image. ly not take it in. i will give it back to you. that's psychology. we haven't taught our children to do that. we haven't taught our adults to do that. o, did you see? no. it wasn't good. [laughter] because you ain't act like it's good. that's what i'm talking about. and then what i call substitution substitute a memory. a good thought. we must type our children to do that. that's what we talk about what it means to be human. we are on the right road and discussing this in a real sense. [applause] i want to talk about this issue of democracy. and i want to open this up to the entire panel. >> you mean democracy in america what it should look like. >> i want to con tect lose it. the panel has written about
democracy. i want to go back to dr. martin luther king, jr. i often do. in 1963 in birmingham alabama in prison king talking about the great well of democracy. and what dr. king meant by the great wealth of democracy. he said the young black teens and the ten and 8 and 9-year-old girls were being arrested in april and may children's cur children's crusade. birmingham alabama in 1963. he said they were bringing the the nation back to those great walls of democracy and predicted in a prophetic tradition that one day people would recognize these young abused people as bringing venation back to the great walls of democracy. you have written a book called democracy matters. sometimes my work has been criticized for talking about democracy. and the small deed of democracy.
in lawrence county, alabama and jackson, mississippi and the mississippi delta. and what fannie lou hamer mend by louisville, mississippi make $2 a day. or ellen baker who was telling people democracy was about more than a hamburger or sit in movement. the connected idea into democracy. after the 2008 and with the election of barack obama. i want to talk about democracy in the age of the new jim crow. how can we get to a deeper notion of small radical democracy that can actually create a people's movement like we had in the 1960s and 70s. needs a fundamental transformation. i am interested in this notion of grappling with a notion of
democracy. not a democracy the united states projects but a democracy black people have dragged this country into expanding with their blood. >> i would argue the black freedom movement has been the grandest example of democratic struggle. by democratic struggle i mean addicted to you every day. if you really a term the dignity of every day people they are not going to choose poverty or dilapidated housing or were levels of unemployment or underand one in better depressionlike for 45 years. at that very deep level, we have to be honest with ourselves and that is all the folks you named, martin, malcolm, we could go on and on. their love of black people made them a threat to black people.
we don't like dealing with that. when martin was shot 72% of americans disapprove. 55% of black people disapproved of martin. i was in buffalo a few weeks ago. 300 people showed up in a site of 1200 because black preachers mobilized against martin because he was against the vietnam war because of vietnamese babies the way he loved black people. when martin was shocked just across the way he was a threat to black people. we wrote a song called when love is a threat. the you understand what is going on? in a deep sense? when you love folks who are taught to hate themselves then get ready for stars. get ready but keep your smile. keep your love. keep your witness and die. then they will celebrate you.
because it is comfortable. because it is convenient. when you really love folks, then you have to bear witness that doesn't put them down but is critical of them enough to know to say you have the potential to be a martin or curtis or ellen baker. so many nameless elevators out there and so many anomalous markers on the ground but in the end what we talking about? when you love those folks who are threatened by your love you better be willing to die by the folks who have contempt for you. part of our problem is we have black leaders who sell out and no longer want to die because they no longer have the same kind of love.
[applause] >> this floor is open. yet another big question. democracy. i want to focus internally about our own institutions. the most important freedom writing institutions from slavery to reconstruction to the modern civil-rights movement and post civil-rights movement has been a black church and the question is where is the black church at the moment. and prosperity, versus a gospel of social change liberation. and so we haven't worked this out yet and we see scandals,
politicians -- church scandals lately and the question is accountability can go wide and deep. not only politicians we put into office but religious institutions and the question is are we holding those people accountable for what they are doing? we need to focus -- black people of very talented. we can do lots of things. that means there are multiple things that need to go on. social movements and internal accountability and pressure from the president to the governor to our local officials to response to these issues. i was part of the silent march that when john. i was struck by the naacp. i didn't fec much church
contention. and hold a long time. the leading clergy members are around this issue -- -- >> completely give up. >> hundreds of churches. you can also talk about occupy wall street. what i am saying there are lots of needs in the community. and the basics. and capacity building. to transport skills and knowledge to a new generation or future generation. read about the civil-rights movement of the importance of young people, social change and
the older generation. but you see this generational transfer of knowledge and memory because memory is an important thing. i mentioned this in my book in the concluding chapter of my book the price of the ticket. and between the new narrative about the national memory. what you talked earlier about what you can be, the timeline is being shifted not from slavery to freedom to civil-rights to post civil-rights but before barack obama and after. what that means for the telling of our history or the loss of memory from one generation to the next. there is a lot at stake.
>> that is a great transition because there are more people framing the issue this way. could fee could -- approaching that made here that produces the necessity for construction. the only way you can actually affect, to figure out where the you are in the world is to actually know something about the past and be able to measure, measure progress. when you wipe away two generations of history from young people, a published report mentioned before but those who have occurred and read about it but in september of 2011. the two i mentioned, out of 50
states, no curriculum educational requirements for teaching civil-rights history. a graded them with the score of f. and based fell in that category but we talked about giving aid to people -- everyone here is a professor of one kind or another. what it tells you it tells you how important even the easiest of narratives about america's factionalism that it -- exceptionalism is it could do this and respond to the cry of demands of everyday people and passing legislation a second time. that is an easy narrative to teach. 12,000 high school seniors, they were asked a question, brown versus board decision, and why
did it matter. only 2% the answer both parts of the question. and it is this education. there's no education. and cultural literacy that you see animates the tea party. they may have their facts as we understand them wrong. they may misinterpret history but they have been fired up about narrative of the past that help them understand where they sit in the world and the world that they want to be in. we are simply the walking dead when it comes to the world moving around us and not being able to latch on to something
and say things are not as they appear. i am not surprised cornell was in the matrix. it is out reach. because that absence of historical knowledge makes possible the retreat. i had a conversation -- gee you think the move against voter participation and the necessity for voter id cards and all these new requirements is deliberate. more importantly and the most telling aspect of this, felony disenfranchisement, how it put george bush in office because of the number of boats that were not counted by ex felons in the state of florida. you regain your right to vote by the secretary of state, the polling places would not allow
it to vote. do you know felony disenfranchisement laws were written at the height of the emergence of segregation in the 1890s win the all white primary was passed and the grandfather clause were put in place and the literacy, if we could all get in a room together, that was a terrible time. we were able to elect a president. the same laws were put on the books, in the state of war and alabama and others to keep people off -- [applause] -- if you didn't know that you would be like the many black folks i heard on talk radio is saying why is that so bad? they talk like that so chris rock talked about black folks.
why shouldn't we have a better identification laws. is that inappropriate measure? in the rest of the world particularly european countries where we like to measure ourselves in historical terms the idea is you get many people to vote as possible. that is what quality democracy looks like. that is how you guarantee your populace is invested in the outcome and participating in civil society. we actually have to be mindful of that and make sure our kids respect the paths and understand it so that -- this doesn't look right. [applause] >> i am always a coin. my eyes were -- i was able to open my eyes. and my eyes were on cornell. and by eyes on frederick.
going to teach just like them. i am the only woman who picked that out. [cheers and applause] >> many were called but few were chosen. many were called. >> what are we going to do? one of the things -- a bunch of stuff but this is a couple. there are new ways of struggling. we must challenge old ways and get ideas that would go home like human and wife giving. they gave us the right of the first stunned to discover and love ourselves and tell our own story. and theywoman. give us the greatness of alice
walker poem and story stretch against an ever changing sky with the justice and intellect and beauty. and ellen baker. we have organized students that love and trust and dedication. give us the brilliance of judy richardson and charlie cobb and sophie carmichael and john lewis is sailed into battle knowing there was activism that helped change the world. a month ago john lewis stood up in congress. did you see that? someone from georgia talking about trying to pass something and change something and he was john lewis again. he was not just the congressperson. i sat next to him this last weekend and walked into the room and had him and said thank you for being there. thank you for having that first year history. thank you for the activism. you would not change something we worked so hard for. young people have got to
understand history. we cannot go and study it. we can't go walking across the bridge and say i participated in this. you walked across the bridge. but make your own bridges to walk across. they need to be walked across. you got to hear what i am saying. we should have been out all of us on wall street. that is a bridge we have to walk across. we need to walk into these churches when someone is up there talking about gay people and lesbians. you know what i mean? we need to do what i did. and my children look at me and said that was good and the pastor got up and started less
dancing, engage and this is -- that was good forever and my children said -- [laughter] >> let's get out of here. get your award and let's leave. and and -- you can't always tell people -- always talking with the voices of our ancestors. what is we must do. and acquire got over again -- the most beautiful song. wasn't it a brilliant song. a beautiful song by that brother. we are so happy to have brothers like that in this church and let
me tell you something. and i responded. the people who stood up and clapped for me when i said what i said. you got to hear that because what you are saying in this community is we would choose that which we would applaud for. if you come up with something we don't quite understand and like. and she is so political and overcome that stuff. perhaps alarms us. it should alarm you. it should alarm you. what must you do? we are here. why are we here? the panelists i have been watching. you don't like to hear people. why it was bad stuff.
what does that translate. , in your church, in the mosque, how does it translate wherever you go in your work place. do you still beat your wife? how does it translate? you still beat your children? your niece or nephew? how does it translate in your home? all this stuff you are doing and i know you are a pedophile? how does that really work? it works. you got to hear what i am saying because i say it with all love and respect. what we are talking about now is ourselves. we are where we are because we have brought ourselves to this state. nobody did it to us. we did it to ourselves. i and it stands what it means.
i understand what reagan's policy did to us. we come out of a tradition. a history of being enslaved people landed -- phyllis k. from celerity -- lavery. harriet tubman helped people. she did. how did we lose harlem? how do we allow ourselves to lose harlem? where we live? where we grew up? here we are in this place. what we got to do now -- women and men and children occupy and grapple with that which will give us a new identity in the world and you know how people say stuff about us. i said this year's ago and you weren't there in a place called new orleans when i said simply we have to have a committee of
engineering. any time someone says something by any of us, the next day in the l.a. times and the washington post there would be a rebuttal to and all we have is concerned citizens, i don't care what name it is but we got you to that. and the latina newspapers got to run that ad for free. i go to the supermarket and my children don't want to go with me. you are in there for two hours. and i am people tell us -- what should i do? how do i navigate my job? how do i navigate, what do i do to survive? we do have to understand that. we have to initiate peace again
in our homes and schools in our churches and mosques. when you feel you beat your wife going to that room. we should have taken a moment of silence for what happened over -- yesterday at the movie house. what do you mean they shouldn't have been at the movie? what does it mean you cannot go places you want to go in this so-called democracy? this place called america? how underworld did you buy that kind of ammunition and that kind of gun? who sells that? why in this country are people allowed to have weapons that shoe through stone and concrete? think about that.
>> it is called the national rifle association. [talking over each other] >> what do we say about that as a people? >> we have some time. >> let us initiate peace. i was at a place years ago and i gave a talk and ten students waited until:00 and i am on a book tour and i am going to get up late and go to california and sleep late. nothing to do the rest of that. i got a 1:00 -- i'm going to sleep late and they said -- they have been called names because
we know there franz were gay. and my brothers and sisters. and those students that organize an assembly. and that we -- how dare you. one of the things i said when i left at the corner of each floor there should be a seat, the table and the bench or chair that seems like you are going to hit somebody and if you think you are going to be beaten up today, it fell too. we need to put one of those in the white house and congress and homes and schools and churches because -- one of the things i
am doing in philadelphia is a piece mural. toni morrison great space, the base player. jean polk and all these people talking about peace. and we have shares along the way to contemplate peace. not war, peace. not killing, peace. at the core of the money we spend in a place called iraq and afghanistan we could take this money and rebuild this place called america. [applause] >> i will throw out one more question and we will open up to questions from the audience.
we love to hear you speak. no apologies. when we think about the next three years and i start with you, the next three years irrespective of who gets elected president we are facing all these challenges but also facing a historic milestones. in 2013, 50th anniversary of birmingham, alabama, the march on washington speech by dr. king and the march on washington, a radical speech where martin luther king talking about preparation, struggle and go to jail together to get that beloved community multiracial democracy. in 2014 will be the 50th anniversary of the civil-rights act but the summer project where the three civil rights workers were killed, assassinated and many more that year. also the 50th of atlantic city
and mississippi freeman democratic party. it is the 50th of dr. king in st. augustine, florida. in 2015 the 50th of sonoma, and when the civil-rights movement forced a president to say we shall overcome. hillary and barack obama had a battle in 2007-8. hillary said it was lyndon johnson. given these milestones that are coming up i want us to discuss what opportunities are there. barack obama's election opened opportunities for all of us especially those who write and educate on issues of -- when we see sharpton on television we see different people. space was opened up with the we agree or disagree with the new black faces and voices we see
projected barack obama's election was a late 60s where people needed negro faces. they're calling you up. people were professors. [talking over each other] >> there was space opened up. what does it mean for us? these milestones and whether obama gets reelected and if he does he is there for the next four years but the civil-rights milestones talking about how we are being missed educated or no education but these 50th anniversary's the president has to talk about king and civil rights but in his own way. what can we do? what opportunity is there for us? >> i think barack obama is going to win. mitt romney is the essence of mediocrity. he is going to win. the 40 first anniversary of what is going on raises the question.
he raised but question, who really cares? you wouldn't have markets for any of these folks. you wouldn't have sonya if they didn't care. they didn't have power in their courage. the fundamental thing we have got to do is break the back of the new prison industrial complex and let our young people know we care for you. we love you. we are not going to allow these police to stop and frisk you. we have the black agenda report. one year ago -- nobody wanted to talk about that. stopped and frisked three million young people. i believe every young person no matter what color is precious. they are priceless but when it comes to be chocolate side of town, i got deep love because we have a lot of black folks who love everybody but black people.
that is not the kind of love i am talking about. it starts with the least of these. if we can break the back of the new jim crow, this is crucial because we know if white brothers and sisters were going to jail at the same level of intensity as black brothers and sisters there would be a national emergency tomorrow. no doubt. if black middle-class brothers and sisters, jack and jill brothers and sisters who i love deeply if they were going to jail at the same level as those on the black were going to jail we have a different kind of black leadership and we simply say i don't care what class, we love you and care for you and we are going to fight for you. fans got arrested in harlem and we want people to know we are old school and we love you. we care feel and we're going to
go to jail for you and i feel and tell the truth about your subsidy and even though you make bad juliuss you are up against the system with oligarchs at the top and billions of dollars at the top. crumbs at the bottom. fighting over the crumbs coming in from outside. schools that are now worth a dime. families collapsing because of unemployment and sells medication and addiction and giving up and selling out that we simply say you come from a great people who cared. you come from a great people who love and we go -- always remember and we will resist in light of their remembrance with that same love you heard sonya putting forward. much more eloquent than i can say it but i will say it anyway. love of all the way down. of [applause] >> we are going to keep it short until we get questions from the
audience. >> briefly i think the milestones you mentioned will be very important but i don't think they will bring that much opportunity. as was seen with all these commemorations, as i mentioned a moment ago you have a real writing of our history. and the racist past. a polls -- posts racialism. [talking over each other] >> i am about memory. memory is connected to communities and we are dependent on people who has baldwin said the witnesses who bear witness and people who have heard those who bear witness, and this generational importance of memory, one of the most powerful lessons i grew up with -- i am from atlanta up, georgia. i wasn't born in jim crow but i knew people who lived through
it. it wasn't a great experience for them. we q these narratives about the good old days, black people together and schools were all black and it was all wonderful. i prefer different stories about that. i hear different stories. my great grandmother turned 100. the first time i heard the word binging was from her because she was going through family photographs and came to this photograph and i asked her what happened to my great grandfather? she shut down and said he was lynched. i am many-year-old kid. what does it mean? that opened up all kinds of possibilities of history and memory and what that meant and connecting those personal stories to wider greater history of the african-american experience. when we talk about these commemorations i think those stories need to become not what
the white house is saying or the people in power or even the african-american museum say. we need to put forth the people who have survived jim crow to tell their story so that we know what the sacrifices that have been made and what we need to do to go forward. [applause] >> i believe in history with a purpose. history is incredibly powerful. it is the ultimate expression of our collective humanity and stories that we tell. we had stories before we had statistical regression. if you don't know what i mean precisely i mean to say we live in a world and a time when we think we know what we know because somebody put enough to it. it gets in the way of knowing what we should always have known before someone had to tell us. we are human beings that we love
and socialize and show compassion towards one another and that is how we got here. history has to be first and foremost in the work we do with each other and our young people. the center has been carrying this fight for 85 years. eighty-six years now. [applause] >> i can say with sincerity and authenticity that every single person on this panel has learned what they know and can speak the truth, the power they speak because of something they found here and explored. if you value history as a weapon of our humanity venue have to support the institutions that make history possible and bring it to life. not just -- there are many institutions. support the secular cultural institutions that keep our
memory and history alive. [applause] >> we have a long line of question the only ten minutes left. can you state a question please? no comments. >> thank you. i am just found a social network presidentialresponsibility.com and trying to develop a conversation like you are having today. the conversation you're having today i am having at home -- i am missing get and i know they're having these conversations. i hear the mall the time but i meet more of a network. my question -- i just graduated from harvard university and i need to have -- the students i was around at harvard we had phenomenal conversations and i need to know -- i am in new york now. how do i develop more of a connection between these
conversations? >> who wants to answer that. >> the commodity -- get a hug from me. give your address up on the internet so that people all around the world would relate to you in that conversation that you already initiated. >> presidential responsibility.com. >> thank you. >> a cacophony of things that i want to bring into a quick synopsis. with respect to what you were discussing earlier about the reason we are here before our children and the educational system and going to the military-industrial complex. given the fact what i see is we are seeing this country turned its back particularly on black and hispanic and asian as well. given the fact reflexively i
think we are seeing what seems to be in the 1800s where you had the objective to put black people in jail because the big corporation would profit from it. >> can you state the question? >> posing the question to the panel because of a like to hear them elaborate on it. >> a short question. >> i want the panel to elaborate on that from their point of view. is that the object of offered by people in this country today? >> criminalization after slavery was the primary instrument of racial domination. it was intended to control the body of black people for purposes of extracting profit from them. the system always stood as a threat if you stepped out of
wine. that is the newest form of control in a population that is very different of redundant people. the labor from black people we have a private prison problem, and those private prisons are small enough in our collective economy not to be about making big profits out of exploiting people. it is about private corporations making money on wall street. and with private corporations that state agencies. and the key difference is criminalization functions today to disappear people who are not essentials into the politics, not essentials to the economics of neo liberalism. it may have changed in purpose but in function is the same. >> questions?
>> my name is less we are third, phd candidate at rutgers university. is occupy wall street a social movement and why didn't the black community of embrace occupy wall street? >> social motion, not yet a social movement. the social motion and social momentum and something beautiful called a social movement of people fighting politics. we had some black folks but it should have been -- more chocolate. >> question? >> my name is donald brown. as a nation of people in america, population of fifty million with an annual income of almost a trillion dollars why are we asking anybody anything? i go to chinatown and i see a culture as a stretch and little italy they use the culture as a stretch. what happens to harlem?
the black mecca of the world. why are we doing that? [applause] >> we still don't love ourselves. we have not come to the reality that -- we said it in the 60s and people saying it and got naturals and went on television and said a couple things that made the movies and whenever but at the court in order to really say we must come together because the most important thing we must deal with is economic power. the chinese in chinatown have economic power. other ethnic groups too but in order to do that you cannot come out by yourself. you have to come as a group of people to do that and at some point understand the importance of culture. we don't -- we really don't -- at some point we moved with the
people we enjoy but not the people that make us think and angry and wonder about our own lives. should be an economic structure here. politicians sold us out. and we watched it happen. we kept sending people back and back and the same people who did the same thing. we have responsibility, and responsibility of what we do to ourselves. how are we going to imagine ourselves here in the 20 first century? we haven't stopped to think about that. we haven't had a sit-down. we all come not dressed up with no tv and sit down and talk about how are we going to imagine ourselves outside the classroom? outside the head of this place?
how could we and imagine ourselves as african in a place called america, almost the middle of the twenty-first century? how do we see ourselves in this construct and not even talking about is or thinking about it but how do we get a new job? how do we get on television? how do we make a movie? how do we finish our dissertation? what does it mean to finish the dissertation if you are not bringing it to our people as an economic person and what happened to us in harlem in all the harlems of america. [applause] >> thank you. your words are important. how do we cultivate an interest in history in herstory? i teach my bondage and my freedom and if i don't stand
over a student and give a lot of quizes they won't finish reading it and i teach the narrative of soldier truth. women's voices too. my question is how do we cultivate an interest in our young people, reading of our stories and writing a series of plays on the presidents who owned slaves. how do i -- >> thank you. last question. i want everybody to answer just one minute. >> you are cultivating an interest. there is no e media result or pay off. everyone in this room more than likely because they are here, the same literature to the same historical figures. i most certainly was an 5 headed to wall street 20 years ago so you have to plant the seed.
if you don't planned secede they will never grow but you have to at a minimum plant the seed and nurture the sea which means you have to water them. >> we are going to take three questions and ask questions and answer whatever questions, one of the last three. go ahead. [laughter] >> i think -- my question is to you. you feel in many ways are we in a position right now that we are neglecting our responsibility and looking at our master. black people looking for someone to serve but not -- to understand what matters to the public and democrats. [talking over each other] >> we got a question.
next question. >> good afternoon. my question to the panel is in light of our discussion today and the enlightenment you brought to us, what would be the chances of a willing commitment from the panel or your colleagues to come back to harlem and commit one day a week when theys and have the discussions? >> that is a great question definitely. next question. >> i am a graduate of harvard university. my question is about politics. criticizing the president or elected leaders is easy because they are one person. one of a select people. it does matter that barack obama does have a nuclear black family. that matters. i am 40.
it matters he has those two kid that it matters in terms of what should be. my question -- my question -- the day before me -- what should black people be doing as opposed to what you think the elected are doing what should we be doing? [applause] >> very briefly. >> one thing we should be doing is coming up with a clear agenda like other constituents have. these of top three four five things we think our important. this is what we want you to do. the president and the congress to mayors so it starts on the local, state and national level. a clear agenda that i think our community has gotten away from. >> quick response.
we should repeal drug laws and end severe punishment such as mandatory minimum. these are clear action items. you ask people you vote for at the smallest level to the highest what is your position on these issues and support expensive -- they cost $500,000 to go in and save people who are so angry they're willing to shoot each other over the slightest infraction. spend the money and make it happen. it is not rocket science. paid mentor ships, we ask folks to do everything for free. if you want adults to give back to young people they should get paid because we live in a capitalist world and capitalist society. could we we imagine that as a, operative? absolutely. if you want to be involved pay somebody to help somebody else. that will make a difference because the rhetoric about mentor should and volunteerism is an upper-class elitist
paradigm. it is people who have the luxury because everything else is taken care of but when you are working two jobs and trying to make ends meet and someone looks you in the eye and says a human during a child is a cheap solution to expensive and complicated problem. [applause] >> i try to highlight the way the system under which we live is corrupt. is dying. the money is at the top. without breaking the back of jim crow that is something concrete because it means jobs with a living wage must be fought for. it means a ban on assault weapons. it means housing with quality. how come students can't get loans at the same level that wall street banks do which is
zero? it means what? where is the money? when the military-industrial complex has spent $4 billion in a week and we get a program of $4 billion tee years. that is war priorities. something is wrong. that is what i mean by concrete demand. i don't want people to think just criticizing the president. i don't care what color the president is other than the fact that in symbolic ways i am glad it is a beautiful black family and michele is there with beautiful children. that is symbolic. but still signed the bill sending folks to jail to be detained without trial. something is wrong. still has a killer list and gave wall street $16 trillion but homeowners were not bailed out. that is war priorities here. it is a matter of being wise
enough and improvisational enough to make the kind of an adjustment they're talking about. i am critical of the president. i love the president at the same time and i'm going to try to love justice and wisdom to make enough difference. >> we have to reactivate activism again. most of us are not activists. we have got to -- let them privatize schools. we could go in -- i remember i was in new york city when we went in to take over the schools and we were teaching their children and they were able to learn. we took over those schools and able to learn. other things we need is a guaranteed income. and people who are for now and we need a guaranteed income for
them. listen to that. i work hard for my money but don't give a guaranteed income to someone who is not working because the money they put on wars, got to make people feel good about themselves again. i guarantee income means people get money to live and stay home and take care of their children. you can't deny them that humanity. but above all eager to we have to become activists again. we can't sit back and say i experienced crossing a bridge 25 years later and now i got to go and cross that bridge and all these bridges -- these are distinct bridges my brothers and sisters. and the people in the western hemisphere. i would not have said that in the 20th century but i watch us
and i view us and icy how we let them privatize our schools and have a select group of people running things and a select group of black folks running things. we reactivate public schools and there's nothing -- did and put good people teaching them. care about what was going on. it is up to us as a people to say let us begin again to do the beginning work. simply saying we are going to live and we are going to love and we are going to resist. most important word is a racist. and we will meet with this brother. we will come once a week or once a month or twice a month forever to have conversations about where are we? where are we going and the other thing is even though obama didn't run it we should have a black cabinet. it could be official and unofficial but he does something wrong we will send him a letter telling him what he is doing wrong. we have a black cabinet. i said it from the beginning and
at the moment he was elected we need a black cabinet. all you intellectuals come -- your black cabinet. >> thank you. let's give a round of applause. to our panel. thank you very much. [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. forty-eight hours of nonfiction books every weekend. we are in new york city at bookexpoare america which is the trade show. i want to introduce you to be so warren who is director of publicity for an imprint called cap0 press.
>> our parent company. some new titles coming up involved 2012. a little bit about the capital. >> we do history and biography and health and wellness. >> let's start with harlow guiles under's book john quincy adams. >> dubee boston tea party and now he is doing a book on john quincy adams. we don't think of as a slavery president. we think of abraham lincoln as that rightly show but john quincy adams was intimately involved with making it so people could talk about slavery and help free the slaves on the other side. wonderful story. nobody tells these stories. >> we have seen a lot of books on john adams but not so many on john quincy adams. >> from having a president who went on to have a son who was a
president recently, george bush. interesting to imagine the parallels between the two families. >> who is stephen brown? >> another author of ours. he has done a book -- the last vikings. of polar explorer. there were four parts of the world's -- the north pole and south pole and northwest package and northeast kerri at and he was the only person to explore all four of them and did it in less than 20 years and considering how much to those in to these that is record time to northwest passage and northeast passage. >> well-known english author martin keller. >> wonderful collection of churchill's rating from churchill's most famous speeches
to articles churchill wrote and no one can archive like martin gilbert. he is amazing at finding nuggets. some are you are familiar with the others are ones that no one has ever heard of that were published in the dustbin of history and he found that back in one volume. >> what booker you excited is coming out this fall? >> we have a book coming out not quite in the fall but july call america you sexy bitch. it is a wonderful look at politics in this country. they rented an rv for a month and really saw that it is not as red state and. state as you might think. there's a lot of purple. it is a sassy book as you imagine from those two authors. we like to mix it up every once in a while. >> who came up with that idea of mixing them together?